PaulBarrs.com | Keyword Research
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Keyword Research

23 Jul Keyword Research

Some people wonder why I and others charge so much for doing on-page SEO and keyword research. Firstly, it takes a bucket-load of time; but secondly, it must be done correctly. In this article I want to give you a brief outline of the different things that are required to understand keyword research and why it’s so important.

First things first. It’s vitally important that, when looking to get results online, you target the right customers. Personally, I don’t care how much traffic you get. If you’re getting the wrong kind of traffic, it’s just a waste, no good for anyone. Not good for you and not good for them.

Keyword research helps prevent that. When starting out, I’ll ask the client for, perhaps, a dozen keywords, what I call “seed keywords”. These are the things that they think of which, if they were to be found online, the customer would be happy, because it’s exactly what they offer. I’ll then go to the Google Keywords Tool while logged into my AdWords account and, one by one, not all at the same time, expand on those keywords to build up a substantial list of what I believe are relevant keywords to the client’s business.

Sometimes, these first dozen keywords expand out to 60 or 70. Other times, to 100 and 150. However many it is that I end up with, and this process itself can take two to three hours, I will then send that list back to the client and say, “Please delete anything which is not relevant to your business.” Here is how I define relevancy for them: If a customer were to find you under this keyword phrase and land on your website, would they be disappointed, because it’s not what you offer? That determines keyword relevancy. Most times, when that list comes back to me, it’s been culled by a third, sometimes a half. Just because I think it’s relevant for their business, doesn’t mean it is.

My On page SEO Sample page

Images don’t actually benefit SEO, but the text *related* to the image can tell Google what it’s all about.

Moving on, then, I will take the list which has come back to me and run it through various filters. First things first, I’ll drop them back into Google’s Keyword Tool and sort out those in the medium range of not too much traffic, but also not too little. Whilst it’s not always true, it’s a very good rule of thumb that if there’s way too much traffic, tens or hundreds of thousands of searchers per month, locally, on a particular keyword phrase, chances are there’s also a bucket-load of competition.

I will rule out those that have hundreds of thousands of searches every month. Usually, they’re just too generic. With that again refined keyword list, I will take that to one of the pro tools that I use, for example, those at Moz.com. I will run each and every one of them through their keyword analysis tool for difficulty, that individual keyword’s difficulty ranking, of how easy or how easy it is not to perhaps get a first page ranking. Again, I will sort this into the medium range; not too difficult, not too easy; unless, of course, it’s a highly targeted phrase and refers directly to that individual business.

From that list, I will generate a top 12 in conjunction with the client. I send it to them and say, “What’s your top 12?” They come back to me with this. Of these top 12, I will then, going through the various keyword tools, rank them by order, 1 through to 12. These are the ones which we begin with and target for our primary on-page SEO. These are the ones that I will build the site structure around and the internal linking system. These are the ones that, if they’re using WordPress, would most likely become their primary categories for blog posts.

These are the ones that we really want the customers to find them on, and of course, an individual page will be created for each, the number one being the home page. Once this is done, then we can begin the on-page SEO. Of course, all the other keywords don’t go to waste. They become blog posts for future content, future pages, future social media posts, future videos on YouTube. Nothing goes to waste, but it all begins with choosing the most relevant and highly targeted and possible to rank keywords.

No point in taking on the 300 pound gorillas if you’re only a chimpanzee. Good keyword research allows you to determine not just which keywords to choose, but when. Eventually, we will target all keywords, but here’s my best tip for you right now, right up front, if you’re doing your own on-page SEO. Other than the fact that you need to know what you’re doing, never target the more difficult ones first.

Go for the easier ones just to get ranked, then you move up the ladder, a little more difficult, a little more difficult, step by step. That’s the plan. Have a six month plan, not a six week plan. Of course, you must always test, track, monitor and measure your rankings along the way. Talk to you again soon.



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